I am looking for an activity watch that lasts at least 20 days, since it's for a trip to the ME Base Camp.

It should have these features:

  • 20 days + batteries *
  • HR monitor (chest band/wrist) *
  • GPS *
  • common smartwatch-features

* mandatory

Is there any watch available that fits these needs?

  • Hi, Welcome to The Great Outdoors. While we appreciate your interest in getting your query resolved, I am afraid that this borders (if not entirely) a pre-shopping advice which we don't quite support here. – WedaPashi Oct 6 '17 at 8:57
  • Anyways, wish you goodluck for Everest Base Camp trek. – WedaPashi Oct 6 '17 at 8:57
  • @WedaPashi Do you suggest any other part of SO? – JELLEJ Oct 6 '17 at 9:02
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    I think this is too broad/opinion based at the moment ("any suggestions?" is never a good question here), but not price-shopping assistance. The main point I get from the question is about how long the battery lasts. If the question was to focus on that, I think it is perfectly viable. E.g. something like "Is there a watch with features A and B, ideally also C, that can last for a 20d trek?" – imsodin Oct 6 '17 at 11:48
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    My suggestion: Buy a proper watch like Ambit or Fenix and get yourself a battery power bank. If you use GPS only a couple hours a day, no watch will last a month. Also GPS devices won't last so long. – Wills Oct 8 '17 at 11:01

There's a well-written and comprehensive article on that topic on Best Hiking called "Best Watches for Hiking 2017".

The Best Watches for Hiking in 2017

A good hiking watch does not only show time and date, but also provides you with crucial information (such as altitude, location, air pressure, sunrise/sunset times etc.) which can help you with navigation, planning and weather prediction. Watches with hiking-specific features are very popular these days and the companies behind them are making great progress when it comes to combining design with useful technology. This selection of the best hiking watches includes three watches which are equipped with GPS and two without. GPS indeed has its advantages but since some hikers prefer watches without GPS (due to longer battery life, less complicated user interface etc.), we wanted to include some options for them too. All watches in this selection have compass, altimeter and barometer – features which we consider essential for activities such as hiking, trekking, mountaineering and backpacking. This review will help you find a watch which will meet your requirements. As new models of watches with hiking features are being released regularly, we continuously update this selection in order to always recommend you the best products available.

Despite giving recommendations, they tell you about a lot of details to keep an eye on when purchasing a smartwatch for mountaineering. Thus my advice is to read through it. However, to address your question, I'll narrow down the recommendation list.

At the end of the day the current market only lets you decide between these two watches meeting all of your requirements:

Garmin Fenix 5 (GPS/GLONASS, battery life 4 weeks, HR)

The Garmin Fenix 5 watch replaced the highly popular Garmin Fenix 3 watch in 2017. It is basically a Smartwatch with a high resolution color display that is designed for harsh outdoor conditions. The watch is made of very robust materials – the bezel is made of stainless steel while the lens is made of Sapphire glass (Sapphire models). Therefore, the watch offers great abrasion resistance and durability. Nevertheless, the design of the watch makes it elegant enough to wear to business meetings without thinking twice. The Garmin Fenix 5 watch is equipped with a 3-axis compass, altimeter, barometer and thermometer. For more accurate temperature readings, you can connect it to an external temperature sensor (Garmin Tempe). The compass and altimeter are calibrated automatically via GPS. Other features made possible by GPS include that the watch can automatically set the time based on your location and of course offers navigation and tracking. You can import routes and points of interest and the watch will provide you with the directions. Activities can be saved and detailed information about each activity can be accessed through the Garmin Connect app (desktop or mobile version). The Garmin Fenix 5 has numerous fitness features like V02 estimator, recovery advisor, race predictor etc. and is also suitable for other sports like running, swimming and skiing. The Connect IQ connectivity allows you to personalize the watch with apps, widgets and unique watch faces (for example a weather widget can be installed on the watch so that you can access the weather forecast directly on the watch). The Fenix 5 watch can be synchronized with a Smartphone (Garmin Connect mobile app is available for both iOS and Android devices) to show texts, alerts, emails and other notifications. Another useful feature is that the watch can be paired with the Garmin Virb action camera and thus you can control the camera directly from the watch. The Garmin Fenix 5 watch is available in three different sizes; Fenix 5S (42 mm/1.7 in.), Fenix 5 (47 mm/1.9 in.) and Fenix 5X (51 mm/2.0 in.). The 5X model, in addition to the features mentioned above, also supports maps – it can show a topographic map which is very useful for navigation. The Garmin Fenix 5 watch is definitely an incredible timepiece. We highly recommend it to all hikers and other sports enthusiasts who want a very versatile watch.

Suunto Ambit 3 (GPS, battery life 4 weeks, HR)

The Suunto Ambit 3 watch is another great choice for hikers and mountaineers as it offers great functionality and durability. In comparison to the Garmin Fenix 5 watch, the Suunto Ambit 3 watch has a less sophisticated display (matrix) but on the other hand it is also slightly easier to use (the watch has a very user-friendly interface). The watch features GPS, altimeter, barometer, thermometer and compass. Navigation with the watch is very easy as the waypoints and GPX routes can be simply imported to the watch from the Suunto Movescount app, where you can easily plan routes before your hike. Furthermore, you can find existing routes from other Movescount users and import them to your own watch – not least by using the Heatmap feature which shows popular routes within a certain area. In addition to planning, the Movescount app also offers a complete overview of your workouts (a calendar shows workouts with parameters such as duration, distance, burned calories etc.). The Suunto Ambit 3 can also track the distance walked, find a route back to your starting point, show current speed and much more. It is also compatible with a heart-rate belt and so, based on your heart rate and other data, it can calculate the amount of calories burned. The Ambit 3 is Suunto’s first Bluetooth-compatible watch. Therefore, it can be easily connected to a Smartphone and show you incoming and missed calls, messages and other notifications from the phone when you install the Suunto Movescount app (available for Android and iOS deviceces). You can also find other apps for the watch on the Suunto Movescount web app and you can even create your own apps for the watch. Suunto Ambit 3 is a great watch for hiking and mountaineering as it offers numerous hiking features. It comes in four different versions – Suunto Ambit 3 Peak, Suunto Ambit 3 Vertical, Suunto Ambit 3 Sport and Suunto Ambit 3 Run. However, the features described above apply only to the Suunto Ambit 3 Peak watches which are designed particularly for hiking and mountaineering. Some Suunto Ambit 3 Peak watches are equipped with Sapphire glass lenses.

Also both of them are smartwatches and provide relevant features.

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    I know those watches and have read a lot because I got myself a new Outdoor watch (Fenix 3 if you're interesred) some weeks ago. OP wants to use GPS and with GPS activated neither the Suunto nor the Fenix lasts more than a couple of days. Depends of course on the time you turn GPS mode on. – Wills Oct 8 '17 at 10:57
  • I will go for the Garmin Fenix 5 Saphire. Thanks for this answer @OddDeer – JELLEJ Oct 9 '17 at 11:35
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    @JELLEJ Just in case you hadn't noticed: the 4-week battery life for the Garmin Fenix 5 is with GPS deactivated. With intermittent GPS it's max. 75 hours, and with GPS fully on it's max. 24 hours. Source. – Pont Oct 9 '17 at 12:58
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    Hi OddDeer. Although this answer helped JELLEJ, I don't think it's the proper type of answer for our format. I think large quotes from off-site reviews are discouraged. They're just copying someone else's opinion, and we're not a "review" site. I was one who worked hard to keep this question about features more than shopping recommendations, but answers like this are examples of what happens when brand shopping questions are allowed. – Sue Saddest Farewell TGO GL Oct 11 '17 at 2:29
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    @Sue absolutely agree. At first I thought that this question is viable. But as you try to answer it you recognize that it doesn't fit. You can't consider every watch which fits the needs and also you can't keep this answer up to date. The only thing we maybe can do is to provide a list of watches via a community answer. – OddDeer Oct 11 '17 at 5:33

If you mean a watch which will last 20 days while continuously tracking GPS, I think it unlikely. The lowest-power GPS modules (e.g. this one) run at about 20 mW.

For 20 days' continuous use that is 20*24*60*60*0.02 = 34.56 kJ.

Lithium-ion batteries store about 460 kJ/kg (source) so you would need 75g of battery (roughly 3x AA size) just to power the GPS module. CPU, display and other circuitry could at least double that. That is feasible for a portable device, but not really a watch.

  • Great answer actually supporting it with numbers! One correction though: Citing from your source: "20 mW at one position update every second". You don't need positions so frequently for hiking, 60s is just fine. So naively the needed battery is just 75/60=1.25g, which seams doable. It might not scale that way though. – imsodin Oct 11 '17 at 21:17
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    @imsodin A correction to your correction: if you're only activating the GPS intermittently, it needs several seconds to get a fix, so you can't just activate it for one second per minute. I've seen 10-12 seconds quoted. The Suunto Ambit3 goes (in theory) 10 times longer with 1-per-minute GPS, implying 6 seconds for a fix, thus 75/(60/6)=7.5g in this calculation… but this is still just for the GPS module, and there are many other components in a watch. The low temperatures will also reduce battery life. – Pont Oct 12 '17 at 6:38

I have not yet seen any GPS capable watch that has such a long battery live. GPS watches like Suunto Ambit and Garmin Fenix do advertise longer battery live, but these durations are only reached when turning GPS off. That will hardly change, as battery technology hasn't changed and there is nothing that will in the short term as far as I know. The Suunto Ambit 3 advertises 50h lifetime with lowest interval GPS (1 per min). Assuming you are on the move for 10h a day, this means 5 days lifetime

The solution is simple: Go with any watch that is battery efficient and meets your need and get battery to recharge it. There are no official numbers I am aware of, but the circulating value is 300-500mAh for typical battery capacities. This seems about right judging from the size. This means a small and cheap USB powerbank of e.g. 3000mAh will keep it running for 20d plus some extra.

  • Didn't see @Will's comment before. My answer is basically the same with more words... – imsodin Oct 8 '17 at 21:13
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    +1, this is the only workable solution proposed so far. The previous answers boil down to "use a watch without GPS" and "use a watch with GPS switched off", neither of which fulfils the requirements. – Pont Oct 9 '17 at 8:07
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    The solution you propose solves the battery problem. What it does not solve and into which I run from time to time with my Ambit 2 is that the storage capacity for recorded tracks does not last such long. In the case of the Ambit 2 I would at least have to carry a laptop to sync the data to. I guess the Ambit 3 for example would be able to also sync to a smartphone... – Benedikt Bauer Oct 10 '17 at 17:44

There is at least one, the Vector Luna Smart Watch.

Vector Watch’s tagline is “The smartwatch with a 30-day battery life” and they really put the battery lifetime in the front line. It is really hard to find a smartwatch these days which will hold the charge for a whole month.


Its features should meet most of your requirements.

  • Always on power saving monochrome display
  • Activity and sleep tracking with Google Fit and Apple Health Kit integration
  • Full bundle of customizable watchfaces, data streams and apps
  • GPS real-time data collected from phone
  • Accept/reject calls, view texts, emails, phone notifications
  • Find phone, camera control, remote music
  • Water resistant up to 5ATM


Beyond that I would check the smart watches in these three articles.

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    Amazing post, thanks @Charlie Brumbaugh. I will watch this for a few days to see what others come up with. The Vivo Active seems to be a very good one – JELLEJ Oct 7 '17 at 18:17
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    -1: Sorry I respect you effort and contributions, but this answer is hardly more than a link only answer to a shopping request, that will be out of date as soon as the next model is released. – user5330 Oct 7 '17 at 23:48
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    @mattnz The question asked if one exists not which one to buy. This question was already closed once and then reopened with the community saying that in its present form it is not a shopping question – Charlie Brumbaugh Oct 7 '17 at 23:53
  • Sorry Charlie but I agree with @mattnz. Even if the question is on topic, which I'm not sure any more, the answer reads like an answer to a shopping question, which makes the answer off-topic. It's also somewhat misleading. For instance, according to one of your links, the Vector watch is only sold in the UK, which is not something you included in your recommendation. I'm pretty sure links to review lists like this are discouraged, especially if they make up pretty much the entire answer. There's no way to properly vet them, so we can't tell if they help the community or not. – Sue Saddest Farewell TGO GL Oct 8 '17 at 4:59
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    The GPS data is "collected from phone", so I don't think that this fulfils the stated requirements: you'd need a smartphone with a 30-day battery life to go along with it, and I don't think that such a thing exists. – Pont Oct 9 '17 at 7:58

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